House Republicans are trying to ram through the newest iteration of the Trumpcare bill, now with new language – the MacArthur Amendment – as fast as they can, hoping that they can get it done before anybody realizes just how awful this handout to the 1% disguised as a healthcare bill really is.
The public is already in an uproar over a change that would allow states to decide whether or not insurance companies could charge outrageous sums of money to people with pre-existing conditions, which covers a wide range of ailments like cancer or diabetes but also pregnancy and therapy for sexual assault survivors.
But the Wall Street Journal has just learned that the new bill will also gut the protections for people who get their healthcare from their employers, which limit the amount of out-of-pocket expenses people who pay into an employer health care plan will have to shell out for “catastrophic illnesses.”
Obamacare rules currently prevent employers from putting limits on the amount they will pay for their workers’ healthcare and prevent them from putting limits on spending for the ten “essential benefits,” like ambulance services, pregnancy and prenatal/postpartum care, hospitalization, prescription drugs costs, etc.
The Wall Street Journal notes that “employer health plans are the single largest source of health insurance in the country, with about 159 million Americans receiving coverage through their jobs.”
Before Obamacare, nearly 60% of employer health care plans had limits on the amount they would pay, putting the policyholder back on the hook if they reached the limit while battling some devastating illness or injury – exactly when they would need the insurance the most.
Now, large corporations are free to go back to the old ways – and since corporations exist solely to feed their bottom line, it’s hard to see them not taking advantage of these new provisions.
There’s been no Congressional Budget Office analysis on the Trumpcare 2.0 bill yet because the GOP is trying to pass the bill before its effects can be properly assessed – but it’s clear that the bill will be devastating, because House Republicans made sure that their personal healthcare plans and those of their staff are exempt from the new amendments.
This bill was already going to put the health insurance of 24 million people at risk; now that number swells by an additional 159 million. It is a downright travesty that in the year 2017, the American people have to beg their elected representatives for the privilege of being able to pay for their healthcare when so many nations offer it for free as a human right.
The Republican Party seems intent on selling out the American people to the ultrawealthy and the corporate elite, so consumed by their arrogance and their sense of invulnerability that they fear no repercussions. If they are foolish enough to pass this bill, there must be hell to pay.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.